The instance of those with views somewhere out there on the far right, allied inevitably to an intolerance of anyone who does not speak English all the time, that get themselves into the audience for the BBC’s supposedly flagship debate offering Question Time continues unabated. Last Thursday brought one individual who thought the UK’s borders should be closed completely, and that migrants had broken the education system.
And as the Independent has pointed out, that claim was not true, and neither was the claim that 68 million people lived in England. Nor was the idea that “everything in the NHS is in different languages” (well, not at Leighton Hospital, it isn’t). Nor are people “flooding into this country who can’t speak English”. Nor are migrants arriving on planes and getting “free service”. She also claimed the EU stopped the UK dredging its rivers. It doesn’t.
It was nothing more than a combination of prejudice, ignorance - and, yes, racism. So it was inevitable that the inhabitants of the planet Spiked, so called because it should have been long ago, would go in to bat for the Question Time ranter. Moreover, this was deemed so important a cause that Brendan O’Neill himself took up the cudgels.
“There is something very telling in the chattering-class rage over that woman on Question Time who said ‘close the borders’,” he began, before asking “Why are so many influential commentators and activists fulminating against one woman who has authoritarian views on the immigration issue?” Hey everyone, I’ve become an influential activist!
But do go on. "It’s because it allows them to demonstrate their moral superiority over what they view as the corrupted throng, the racist masses”. Bullshit. She was ignorant and dishonest, and so was called out for it. Have another go. “She is being held up as symptomatic of a nationwide bigotry that us good people - newspaper columnists, Labour activists, correct-thinking academics - have a duty to expose and crush”. No. Wrong.
It was because she was ignorant and dishonest. And racist with it. Then we inevitably get the E-Word, as in elite: “Corbynista Owen Jones further pursued this classist and elitist media-effects idea”. “Corbynista”. Gratuitous and irrelevant abuse. “Classist”. Ditto. “Elitist”. Just hypocrisy. O’Neill is an integral part of the media elite.
All that was required to top this off was a reference to “sheer snobbish intolerance”. Hey everyone, I live in a terrace house, don’t own a car, shop at Aldi and favour beer over prosecco. This makes me “snobbish” and “intolerant”. Well, perhaps I am intolerant. Intolerant of the likes of Brendan O’Neill leaping to the defence of the ignorant and bigoted, just to ensure he keeps on scoring commissions from the right-wing press.
Intolerant of those prepared to not only excuse, but indeed champion the racist and otherwise prejudiced. Intolerant of the media elite trying to tell me I’m part of the elite, and trowelling on terms of abuse like “Woke”, “Virtue Signalling”, “Social Justice Warrior”, “Privilege Checking”, “Politically Correct”, “Correct Thinking”, “Chattering Class”, “Middle Class Commentariat” and “Moral Superiority”. Or perhaps O’Neill is the intolerant one.
That would explain why he has to cower behind a fog of abuse while sneering at anyone daring to exercise their freedom of speech. Owen Jones was right to call out the Question Time ranter. The Indy’s analysis shows why. And Brendan O’Neill is beyond irrelevant.APPEAL The Legalballs Fund: I made a mistake. Now I need to raise £16,500 to cover a legal bill. You can chip in to help me HERE - all help is gratefully received. Thanks for reading this far!